Even with laboratory supply shortages, we’ve found ways to keep momentum up and maintain our undergraduate and citizen science research on the environment. Hundreds of environmental DNA collections were made this year by CALeDNA volunteers and scientists all over California, including the Los Angeles River, Montara Mountain, and the Cosumnes River, to better monitor and understand endangered and invasive species.
We have been working with the UC Natural Reserves system to use DNA metabarcoding to watch the intertwined community of microbes, plants, and animals reassemble after wildfire in six reserves that burned in the CZU fire complex. An article was published last month that highlights the CALeDNA methods and grassroots projects that together make it possible to compare biodiversity across our precious landscape.
Now our collective is broadening out to have a national focus, with the launch of a new cooperative agreement to conduct environmental DNA analyses with the National Parks Service. Our first projects will survey Hawaiian streams and coral reefs, Alaskan algal blooms and will generate new genomic resources for tracking our country’s most damaging aquatic invasive species.
To everyone who has adapted to remote work and teaching to preserve our community’s health and safety, we extend a sincere message of gratitude and we look forward to welcoming you back to the offices soon.